Double Book Review!

I read two books this past week: Everything, Everything and Thirteen Reasons Why. They’re absolutely stunning, both of them. I figured I would pour some thoughts out into a blog post if you’ve ever considered reading them or even if you know nothing about them.

Everything, Everything

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This novel is written by the lovely Nicola Yoon. Everything, Everything has been adapted as a movie and is coming to theatres sometime very soon this year.

Through this book, you follow the story of Madeline. Madeline suffers from a rare disease that makes her extremely allergic and sensitive to everything. As in, she hasn’t left her house in 18 years. Because her father and brother passed away years ago and Madeline lives only with her mom and nurse, she tends to get pretty lonely… until new neighbors move in next door. Madeline quickly sees the teenage boy of the family, and after communicating through window-miming and IMing, the two meet in real life when Olly (after a thorough sanitation process to ensure that he can’t make Madeline sick) is able to come into her house and speak to her in person. Obviously, there’s romance involved there. But what else comes out of meeting Olly besides falling in love?

It is a story of the dangers of love. I’m a huge sucker for a good love story, but this story wasn’t necessarily dripping with constant romance. Some romance books that I’ve read tend to focus solely on the relationship between the two main characters, which can get really boring and really annoying really quickly. Yoon does a really nice job at also zooming in on other aspects of Madeline’s life; her relationship (or lack thereof) with her mother is constantly highlighted, as well as the thrill of experiencing new things and the reality of mental illnesses.

The plot does move rather quickly, which was kind of a downside for me. Everything just kind of happened all at once, and while it was still a captivating story I wish there had been some more content within. That being said, I’m quite a fast reader, so that is surely a part of it. I read the book in two days, and it’s about 350 pages.

It’s definitely a romance novel, but it’s also not frilly and fluffy like a good selection of other love-centered books. I feel like Everything, Everything did a really good job of accurately representing the thoughts that run through a girl’s head when facing a boy she fancies. Also, despite the fact that the book is LITERALLY about a girl who’s allergic to everything, it is incredibly and surprisingly realistic. It wasn’t at all what I was expecting to read, and I mean that in a good way.

Thirteen Reasons Why

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This. Book. Is. So. SO. Good.

Selena Gomez is the producer of the Netflix series adaptation of this story, which comes out at the end of the month (!!!). Thirteen Reasons Why is the first book Jay Asher ever wrote, and if that is what his first published work is like then I really must read all of his authorizations since then. He’s absolutely brilliant.

At just under 350 pages, the entire novel takes place over the course of one day. The main character, Clay, is welcomed by a shoe box on his doorstep, which holds 7 double-sided tapes. There are 13 sides to listen to, and the moment Clay starts listening to the tapes he is stunned. The voice he hears coming through his headphones is that of Hannah Baker, a teen who committed suicide a couple of weeks prior. Clay soon finds out that the shoe box is to be delivered to 13 different people, and each of those 13 are somehow responsible for Hannah’s death.

I… I just… What?

I’ve never been huge into crimes and mysteries until this year, because I found them too frightening. I mean, I still do, but this take on a mystery is atypical. The story of Thirteen Reasons Why isn’t scary in the sense of monsters and blood-thirsty maniacs. It’s terrifying, in fact, in the sense that it makes you realize how something so small and seemingly meaningless you do can impact someone else in tremendous ways. That, I think, is scarier than any werewolf or vampire you’ll ever encounter in literature. If you’re looking for a light-hearted easy read, avoid this book. It’s packed full to the brim with spine-chilling thoughts.

Asher clearly intended this book for a more mature audience, because not only is it about suicide but it also deals with touchy topics like sex, drugs, and partying. That being said, it’s definitely NOT a book that’s exploding with super sexual things, which I appreciate. It has its moments, but it’s pretty clean as far as that goes (especially when compared to other novels). When you first start off the story it maybe seems like it might be graphic in that area, but I didn’t find it too terrible. That wasn’t even on my mind as I read the book.

The main focus in this book is suicide. I think it’s important for people to talk about this, because it is certainly a big thing in today’s society. Thirteen Reasons Why addresses the issue in an extremely impactful and memorable way. I cannot begin to describe how it has forever changed my perspective on the subject of suicide.

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I absolutely adore reading. I feel that there’s something so liberating about seeing into fictional people’s thoughts that you can somehow relate to entirely. Literature is overall a stunning creation. I just picked up 3 more books from the library, so we’ll see if those find their way into any upcoming blog posts. 😉

Now for a quick update on my monthly challenges!

February, the plank month: I actually did it, guys, and lived to tell my story! I suppose I’m being over dramatic, but it was very difficult for me. For someone who never really worked out prior to this year, the idea of planking every day was intimidating. However, with great determination and lots of sweat, I finished the challenge strong with a solid 5-minute plank on the final day. (I say “solid” lightly, as I’m sure my form was off and I’m certain that my upper body collapsed partway through the practice… but it’s the effort that counts!)

March, no candy: I’m almost halfway through this challenge. I have always been extremely guilty of eating one to five pieces of candy a day. I mean, it’s sitting on my bookshelf in a cute little bucket, and if I’m doing homework and get hungry… How can I not? So, this challenge is actually fairly hard for me to do. The temptation is there. But, it has cleared up my skin SO much and I’m overall feeling a lot better physically. While I’m certainly going to indulge in some candy on April 1st, I’m going to start limiting myself on it more after March, because I can see the evidence that it is a positive change for my body.

 

That is all for today. I hope you are all doing well in your week! Remember that God won’t put you to it if He won’t carry you through it. Much love.

Blessings! Lauren Joy

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